Errant fireworks at Roy Days injures 10, causes fire

Monday , August 04, 2014 - 5:57 AM

Standard-Examiner staff

ROY — Errant fireworks injured 10 and caused a small fire late Saturday at the annual Roy Days festival, Roy fire officials said.

The spectators all received minor injuries after an unexpected sideways blast at about 10:15 p.m., Roy Fire Chief Jason Poulsen told the Standard-Examiner.

All 10 were treated on scene; none were taken to the hospital, Poulsen said.

The victims were of all ages, including some children, the chief added. The blast occurred immediately after the show’s finale. 

“We thought it was over, there were cheers, and then you saw one just go sideways,” Poulsen said.

The group was “pretty amped up” after getting hit, he said, but “they settled down once the initial shock wore off.”

Dispatchers had confirmed just after 10:30 p.m. there was a small fire at West Park near 4500 South and 2900 West and that medical workers were responding to the situation. Little other information was available at that time because it was a medical call in progress. 

An earlier firework had caused a decent sized grass fire, Poulsen said, and brush trucks each from Riverdale and Roy put out the blaze while the show continued.

“They were in the perfect spot,” Poulsen said, to douse the fire. “It created quite a backdrop.”

Two part fireworks cased in so-called “peanut” shells caused the fireworks to go haywire, according to Poulsen. One portion of each errant firework likely didn’t ignite properly, he said, and remained to deflect the second portion sideways.

Everything was done according to required safety standards, Poulsen said, including keeping spectators a specified distance away and having fire trucks on scene. The fireworks were legal, he added, and their malfunction couldn’t have been predicted.

Dorian Kunzler, who attended the show, said on Facebook a "low flying firework" had ignited some nearby weeds east of the fireworks launch site. Another errant firework caused the injuries, Kunzler said, concurring with the official report.

"Then ... at the end of the Grand Finale there was another low one that blew up ... (and) a second one ended up landing (and) blowing up in a group of people (mostly kids) about 20 feet from where we were at!!!!" Kunzler's post read. "Good thing the EMT's and Paramedics were across the street and were on scene quickly."

Some of the group, Kunzler wrote, "suffered minor burns and were shaken up good."

Others also took to social media to express a close call Saturday’s fireworks.

"Roy fireworks tried to reach out and touch somebody tonight!" tweeted Twitter user @andrewmcrane, Andrew Crane.

Twitter user Garet Stokes, @garetstokes, said the small explosion of a nearby firework was too close for comfort.

"Fireworks just blew up about 10 feet away at Roy Days fireworks lol," read a part of Stokes' tweet.

Twitter user Allison Carver, @allison_carver, expressed a similar sentiment.

"Roy fireworks tried blowing me up .. seriously," she wrote.

Contact reporter Ben Lockhart at 801-625-4221 or Follow him on Twitter at @SE_Lockhart. Like his Facebook page at

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